Harming the Healers: Three-Quarters of Workplace Assaults Occur in Healthcare Settings

May 6, 2016 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Nearly 75% of the estimated 24,000 workplace assaults in the United States between 2011 and 2013 occurred in a healthcare setting, found a research project that analyzed several available studies and was published in the April 28, 2016, New England Journal of Medicine. U.S. Department of Labor data show that healthcare workers are nearly four times as likely to require time off because of a workplace injury as those in other industries, the author said, but the actual number may be significantly underreported. Because of such reporting inconsistencies, the author noted, interpreting data about violence in a workplace setting can be difficult. Nurses were victimized at the highest rate in several studies. One large study found that 46% of nurses reported some type of workplace violence during their five most recent shifts, with one-third being physically assaulted. Nursing aides, especially aides in nursing homes with dementia units, are at "very high risk," the author wrote.

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